Teal season opened in southeast Louisiana on Saturday 9/21/02. Joe and I headed to Venice Friday morning on the 20th in an attempt to go fishing before the water turned rough from an approaching “cold” front. I say “cold” front, but it never gets cold in Louisiana in September. It doesn’t even get cool. We should call it a “less humid and not so hot front from the North”. In any case, the front never really made it and it was brutally hot all weekend.
The inland waters were choppy on Friday and it was not possible to go out into the Gulf to fish. We did manage to make it to West Bay, but the swells were uncomfortable and we didn’t catch many fish. The only things of interest to note were when Joe decided to cool off in the water and jumped over the side of the boat only to land on the submerged rocks we were fishing over. He put a nasty gash in his foot. After close examination we decided it was not life-threatening, so we went into the marsh to look for more fish. That afternoon we came across an alligator swimming in the marsh. Because of the brackish water, we normally don’t see many alligators. We went to all our favorite spots, but we only caught a few more fish. We went back to the camp, took a shower (we stayed at the trailer) and went to bed.
The wind was calm when we reached the duck spot about 6 a.m. Saturday morning. We did not see any teal for 30 minutes so we decided to go fishing and take advantage of the break in the wind. While Joe went to get the boat, 6 teal surprised me by coming over the pond. I was able to get off 3 shots but missed them all. It was not a good start to the season.
We went back to West Bay to fish. The water was clean and not rough. We fished the rocks where Joe cut his foot and despite ideal conditions, we only caught 4 speckled trout and a couple redfish. We ran all over the marsh but the fish were just not interested in our live shrimp. We tried all the tricks in the book other than dynamite but we just could not find the fish. We went back to the camp, took a shower and a nap and arose for the afternoon session. We pulled the trawl and caught more live bait, but we still could not find any fish despite the water being clean to the south. We went to the duck spot a little earlier than usual and shot four teal from 5:30 to 6:30 that evening. We did not see any teal in the last hour, which was very unusual.
Sunday morning was not much better. We shot 3 more teal but lost one that floated away on us, so we only bagged six for the whole weekend. It wasn’t a great outing, but it was nice to get away from our jobs and to be back in the marsh again. The marsh looked very healthy and we prayed that Hurricane Isadore, churning over the Yucatan Peninsula, would not come our way.